Florida Memorial University has revived its football program, the university announced last Tuesday. Its inaugural season is expected to be 2020.
Ernest T. Jones, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, encouraged the school to resume the program, and presented the possibility and the benefits to FMU President Jaffus Hardrick and the board of trustees. After a 61-year hiatus, Jones said it was “the dawn of a new day at FMU” with the planned return of football.
“I would like to thank the Board of Trustees, President Jaffus Hardrick, and the city of Miami Gardens Community for the help and support,” said Jones.
Jones was able to secure a partnership with city of Miami Gardens that will allow the track and field, soccer and football programs will compete at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, located at 3000 NW 199th St, Miami Gardens.
“Football is more than just a game; it brings immeasurable value in uniting people and having a social and cultural impact on the community and quality of life of our residents,” said City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III. “This partnership between Miami Gardens, Florida’s largest predominantly Black City and FMU, South Florida’s only HBCU, underscores our commitment to bring first-rate programs to the community.”
Jones, since accepting his new role at the university in May, has been rallying for the return of football.
“Florida Memorial University will become the Global University academically and athletically that others will want to mirror,” he said.
Jones put together a presentation that included a partnership with Miami Gardens that will not only increase revenue and enrollment at the university but A majority vote of approval from the trustees on May 29, secured the rebirth of football at the Lion’s Den.
“As a member of the board of trustees, we have the responsibility to make prudent decisions that will expand and sustain our historic footprint,” said Florida Memorial University Chairman Elect William McCormick. “Today, the rebirth of football on the campus of Florida Memorial University will provide new and exciting opportunities for our students as well as positively impacting our local community.”
The last football game played by the Lions was a 14-8 win over Albany State in 1958. The university, then called Florida Normal and Industrial Institute, competed in the Southeastern Athletic Conference. From 1945-58 the team finished with an all-time record of 41 wins, 25 loses and six ties with a break in the 1949 season.